Saturday, June 28, 2014

Game Functions: Jump Button

This will be a presentation of the basic functions in gaming. We will begin with the first part, which is almost always a core gaming mechanic. Not every genre of games will feature this action but it is obviously a function worth noting time and time again.

The act of jumping. How is the act of jumping applied to video games? Jumping can be considered one of the most basic abilities a character in a game performs. It is quite natural to see a character jump from one spot to another. It is quite natural to see the act of jumping being used to complete a task. While it may not always be so flashy, jumping can prove to be very essential in determining whether a character progresses in the game or reaches the Game Over screen.

Perhaps no character is more familiar with the act of jumping than Mario, a simplistic character created by the sharp mind of Shigeru Miyamoto. Truth be told, Mario wasn't always called Mario, especially when he was first starting out. In the early 1980's, Mario only went by the name of "Jump Man", a guy who heavily relied on precise jumps to clear the barrels and reach his destination, the very top of an unstable platform to confront Donkey Kong, a menacing ape who captured Pauline.

Jumping in video games is one of the basic actions you can perform, and only in select genres are you not allowed to jump at all. Puzzle games, RPGs and some Shooting games do not require the player to jump from one spot to another. There is no button in the controls for these games that allow the player to move his or her character by jumping. While it may be a basic thing, jumping isn't the only thing and it isn't everything.

It's easy to find where the button for jumping is. In many games, the Jump Button is the very first button to be pointed out. The A Button on Nintendo consoles is almost always used for jumping. In the case of the Sony Playstation consoles, the X button is usually considered the Jump Button. It is a rare occurrence to have a series of games change from one button to another button when it comes to the jump function, considering the fact that there is very little substance in needing to change where the jump function stays.

Many of our favorite games today would become that much more difficult if we weren't allowed to jump in certain spots in levels. Could we ever imagine having to get past armies of Koopas and Goombas as Mario if we were not given the option to jump? Could we ever imagine not having to jump as characters like Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Sly Cooper or anyone of the sort?

The games that these characters are in require some element of jumping in order for them to perform the actions they need to perform. The game design for these games at least partially build around the act of jumping because jumping is a basic action that realistically describes the athletic ability of these characters. There are some games out there, and even Platforming games, that don't put in the act of jumping but game developers do this for specific reasons. The main reason would have to be the fact that developers just want to do something different with the Platforming genre. This is understandable considering you don't want to give off the impression that you're just copying off Mario if your character jumps anywhere near similarly to Mario.

I personally like the Jump Button feature because it is easy to plan for. It is easy to build around for a hypothetical game and for most of the scripts that I have written in scratch, I have included the act of jumping for the main character. There are plenty of variants for the act of jumping, as in not all characters jump off the ground the same way. There are combo jumps, side jumps, backflips, front flips, and pounce-like jumps that can be taken into account for game functions.

This was just one basic article out of many discussing game mechanics and how they have some sort of impact on the gaming experience, and how they affect the characters we love.

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